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Wilson's Disease

Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disorder that affects copper metabolism, leading to organ damage. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, tremors, and personality changes. Diagnosis involves physical exams, genetic testing, and blood tests. Treatment includes chelating agents and zinc salts to regulate copper levels. Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing the condition.

Best medications for Wilson's Disease

Drug NameClassRouteStandard DosagePrice
SyprineMetal ChelatorsOral250 MGfrom$255.28
CuprimineAntirheumaticsOral250 MGfrom$286.74
GalzinMetal ChelatorsOral25, 50 MGfrom$70.39
CuvriorMetal ChelatorsOral300 MGfrom$6066.38

Wilson's Disease: An Overview

Wilson's disease, also known as hepatolenticular degeneration, is a rare genetic disorder that affects the body's ability to metabolize copper. This leads to the accumulation of copper in various organs, primarily the liver and brain, resulting in progressive damage if left untreated. The condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning that both parents must carry the defective gene for their child to be affected.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Wilson's disease can vary widely among affected individuals, making it sometimes challenging to diagnose. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice

  • Fatigue

  • Abdominal pain and swelling

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Tremors

  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing

  • Personality changes

  • Depression and anxiety

In some cases, Wilson's disease can also lead to neurological symptoms such as muscle stiffness, involuntary movements, and cognitive impairment. If left untreated, the condition can be life-threatening.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing Wilson's disease involves a combination of clinical evaluation, genetic testing, and laboratory investigations. A thorough physical examination, including a review of symptoms and family history, is often the first step. Blood tests to measure ceruloplasmin levels, liver function, and copper levels are commonly performed.

Liver biopsy, a procedure where a small sample of liver tissue is taken for analysis, may be necessary to assess the extent of copper accumulation and damage. Genetic testing can confirm the presence of mutations in the ATP7B gene, which is responsible for the defective copper metabolism in Wilson's disease.

Treatment

Fortunately, Wilson's disease can be effectively treated, allowing individuals to live normal lives. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce and maintain copper levels within a normal range in the body. This is typically achieved using medications called chelating agents, which help eliminate excess copper through urine or stool.

Another category of drugs called zinc salts can help decrease copper absorption from the intestines. In some cases, liver transplantation may be necessary if the liver is severely damaged and other treatment methods have failed.

Conclusion

Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disorder characterized by impaired copper metabolism, leading to copper accumulation and subsequent organ damage. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in preventing serious complications. If you or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms associated with Wilson's disease, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and appropriate management.